Recently I was fortunate enough to not only be sent a one kilogram bag of tiger nuts to try out and review, but also given the opportunity to interview the faces behind the company – Chris and Ani. This is my first ever interview and I am so excited to share it with you all as having tried, tasted, and seen for myself how delicious and versatile the tiger nuts are. It has been amazing to hear their story and how they started The Tiger Nut Company.
Tiger nuts are also said to be the best whole food source of a unique type of fibre called resistant starch, a highly beneficial prebiotic which is a hot topic in the health world at the moment.
Tiger nuts are an incredible superfood which have been eaten and enjoyed by our ancestors for centuries. Firmly finding their feet and fan base in America, they are fast becoming popular worldwide and are set to be the UK’s “next big thing”. So jump ahead of the queue and read my review (coming soon) and interview!
Emma: Firstly, please tell us how the Tiger Nut Company got started and where?
Chris & Ani: We got the idea for the Tiger Nut Company a couple of years ago. Our family are Spanish and as child Ani used to drink traditional Horchata de Chufa, or tiger nut milk in the horchaterias in Barcelona. We rediscovered the drink a couple of years ago and wanted to import it to the UK. We began to research the tiger nut and were blown away when we discovered the amazing health benefits and potential of this versatile little tuber. We found out that pasteurising tiger nut milk destroys much of the nutritional value and so decided we would rather import them in their natural state and encourage people to make this delicious drink themselves, while we try to work out how to bottle it without losing any of the nutritional benefits.
Emma: Who are the people / faces behind The Tiger Nut Company?
Chris & Ani: At the moment it is just the two of us, Chris and Ani, we are married, live just outside of London in Brentwood, and have been together far longer than we like to admit! We have some help from our son Jordan, and Rosie our cocker spaniel who are our main tasters! Ani is passionate about food and a bit obsessed with developing recipes and taking photos, while Chris is more responsible for spreading the word and paying the bills.
Emma: Are tiger nuts, nuts ? and are how are they best eaten?
Chris & Ani: No, tiger nuts are not nuts they are tiny root vegetables overflowing with goodness. Technically a tuber, they grow under ground on the root of the sedge plant.
Emma: Are tiger nuts Paleo?
Chris & Ani: Tiger nuts are actually THE original Paleo food! A study by Oxford University discovered that tiger nuts were a main food source of our ancestor ‘Nutcracker’ man. They are nutrient dense, and a valuable plant-based source of nourishment for example in terms of 18 core micronutrients they outweigh beef in 10 of them. It is also likely that human brain evolution was helped by the nutritional value of a diet rich in tiger nuts (Click here for more information). So we think that tiger nuts are in fact the perfect Paleo food.
Emma: How does the tiger nut fit in to a Paleo / Primal lifestyle?
Chris & Ani: Easily! They are so versatile and ideally suited to a Paleo lifestyle because they can be consumed in a variety of ways. We have already said that you can make a nutritious milk from them which is delicious chilled, or used to make dairy free smoothie,s and chia pudding. You can eat tiger nuts raw as a snack or tasty topping – the peeled ones are best for this as they don’t need soaking. You can chop them and mix with nuts and seeds for breakfast or in snack bars. We also sell fine and coarse flour which is delicious raw spooned into juice and green smoothies, or you can use it in cooking and baking. As tiger nuts are naturally sweet they reduce the need for sweetener in many recipes.
Emma: What is your favourite tiger nut recipe?
Chris & Ani: Hard to say because we are developing new ones all the time but we all love horchata or tiger nut milk. Ani is addicted to chia pudding made with horchata and topped with blueberries and peeled tiger nuts. Chris loves the raw chocolate birthday cake recipe.
Emma: What are the health benefits of the tiger nut?
Chris & Ani: We think that the potential health benefits of this superfood are huge, which is why we are so passionate about them. There are some exciting studies that seem to show a positive impact on things like blood pressure, colon cancer, diabetes, and IBS but more research is urgently needed before any claims can be made. We can say however that tiger nuts are insanely high in vitamin E, for example 100g of tiger nuts contains around 80mg! Vitamin E is important for immunity, skin, and eye health. Vitamin E is used to treat acne and other skin complaints and is known to have anti-ageing properties (Ani swears she has fewer wrinkles now! ).
The RDA for vitamin E is around 15mg, and you can get that from just a small handful. Compare this to 100mg of sunflower seeds which has around 33mg, or avocado which has around 2mg and you will see why we get so excited.
Tiger nuts are also said to be the best whole food source of a unique type of fibre called resistant starch, a highly beneficial prebiotic which is a hot topic in the health world at the moment. Resistant starch is believed to feed the good bacteria in your gut and is thought to be beneficial for preventing or helping those with diabetes, obesity, and IBS. Many cultures have believed tiger nuts to be beneficial for digestive complaints, but again more research is needed in this area. We think this is such an important food and we really hope we can encourage more research into the health benefits. Not only are they good for you but they taste great!
Emma: They sound like the perfect health “nut” (excuse the pun!)…. Where can we buy tiger nuts from?
Chris & Ani: From us! We sell mainly online although we are due to be stocked in a few select outlets. As yet tiger nuts are not very widely available in the UK. Do be aware that not all tiger nuts are of a high quality, some are used for fishing bait for example and you shouldn’t eat those. We take care to make sure that what we sell is only of the highest quality from reputable suppliers in Spain.
Emma: Where do you see The Tiger Nut Company in 5 years time?
Chris & Ani: We want to continue to spread the word and help people improve their health and well being through eating this amazing little superfood. We hope that we would have found a way, and the finance to be able to bottle and sell horchata retaining its nutritional value. We also have some great ideas about using tiger nuts in delicious raw treats and foods.
If you would like to know more about the Tiger Nut Company or follow them to keep in the loop then check out the links below: